Senator Frank Morse retires
After Sen. Morse’s retirement, OSU student Stanley Baker runs for newly vacant seat in Oregon State
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 01:10
On Tuesday, District 8 of the Oregon State Senate held its nominating convention to fill the seat of State Senator Frank Morse, who has stepped down after serving Albany and Corvallis for 10 years.
Morse was first elected in 2002 after defeating Sen. Barbara Ross (Dem.), a three-term member of the Oregon House of Representatives. Morse was then re-elected in 2006, defeating Mario Magana (Dem.) and again in 2010, defeating Dan Rayfield (Dem.). This September, Morse resigned halfway through his third term, stating that he lacked the energy to pursue his position further.
For 10 years, Morse has served Benton and Linn counties. Though a member of the Republican Party, Morse was often someone who could cooperate with both sides of the aisle. Best known for his tax proposals, in 2007 Morse, along with three democratic senators, presented a tax reform bill, which included the implementation of a statewide sales tax. According to Jacob Vandever, president of Oregon State University College Republicans, Morse advocated a sales tax initiative because of economic stresses.
“Oregonians are hit really hard by recessions [since] our state revenue is based off income and property tax, and during times of economic trouble where revenue is based on income, state revenue can be really volatile and can change drastically,” Vandever said.
Vandever also recalled an analogy Morse once made while addressing the College Republicans.
“A stool with three legs is more stable than a stool with two, where Oregon is based on income and property tax; to add sales tax would make us more stable,” Vandever said.
Morse, an alumnus of Oregon State University, was born and raised in Lebanon, Ore. He and his wife Linda have been married for 47 years and have two children. Community service has always been important for Morse, who has worked closely with the Albany Boys and Girls Club, OSU Family Business Council, and the Samaritan Albany General Hospital.
Allen Alley, chairman of the Oregon Republican Party, spoke highly of Morse at Tuesday’s convention.
“Frank is one of the most respected legislators in Salem and an incredible man,” Alley said.
The nominating convention, which took place at the Comfort Inn Suites in Corvallis, Ore., allowed the nine candidates running for Morse’s seat to introduce themselves to people from different precincts along with residents of Linn and Benton counties. Following candidate introductions and a brief question and answer session, the convention’s attendees voted to send three to five candidates to the county commissioner, where one is then chosen to fill the senate seat. Of the nine candidates, one happened to be current OSU student Stanley Baker.
Baker’s background is extensive. He is the father of seven children, a husband of 16 years to wife Glenda, a U.S. Army combat veteran of the Vietnam War, a graduate of Portland State University and George Fox University, and a current student at OSU. Baker is in his last term at OSU, where he intends to earn his doctorate in crop and soil science in Jan. 2013.
Morse advocates a market free of tariff and non-tariff trade restrictions and a level playing field where American farmers and businesses can compete.
During his 5-minute introduction and speech, Baker spoke in regards to Oregon’s economy.
“We need to move forward toward financial stability, where we can count on a future for our children and our children’s children,” Baker said.
Following this remark, he spoke about the disappointing instances in 2002 where public schools in Oregon had to be closed due to a lack of funding, and how he hopes to create a plan where any additional state revenue will be diverted into a rainy day fund.
Baker was unable to secure a spot among the three nominees (Betsy Close, Larry Mullens and Clinton Johnson), who will be moving forth to the county commissioner, who then determines which candidate will secure the open senate seat.
Gabriella Morrongiello, news reporter